Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Bonfire

I knew a guy named Kermit.  A name like “Kermit” suggests either parents with poor long term decision making or perhaps a family history that might best be honored in another way than naming your only child “Kermit”.  Kermit was very tall, very skinny, and had almost no muscle definition of any kind.  He had a moptop of shocking orange hair that grew over his eyes like he was trying to hide in the bushes.  He was painfully shy.  Kermit went on a familiar trajectory from teenage nerd outcast to young adult heavy pot smoking outcast.  By the time I got to know him a little bit, he lived near me in a small rental home with two guys that were variations of Kermit.  One was short and fat and extremely dedicated to video games.  I never heard him speak a complete sentence.  The other guy had a terrible complexion and was 100% focused on heavy metal.  I only heard him speak once when he said “Fuck yes!” when someone put a Black Sabbath record on at a party.    

On a summer night Kermit was really wasted at a party at my place.  There was a bonfire pit in the backyard where almost every party ended.  It is shocking how cozy seven shitty lawn chairs placed around an open pit in an overgrown backyard can become by firelight.  Conversely, nothing is more desolate than a party campsite at 8:15 am with empty bottles and discarded wrappers.  However, I will stress that at night it was a good scene out there.  It had gotten very late, leaving just Kermit and I by the dying fire.  We were almost out of shit talk.  We were almost out of wood.  The option of wandering into the field behind the house to look for wood was as good as signing up for a sprained ankle or poison ivy.  I was ready to wrap it up.  Kermit did not want to let the party to end.  He jerked up out of his chair and said “I’ll get some wood!”.   

Ten minutes later Kermit had returned from his place next door.  In his arms was an end table and a lamp.  He tossed them in the fire.  The backyard changed from a dark orange to a flash of yellow as the lampshade burst into flames.  He cackled wildly and ran back into his house.  “Kermit?  You think this is a good idea?”  He tossed the other end table onto the fire, turned and ran back into his house.  He had made a shift from gleeful abandon to grim determination.  I will admit I got caught up in it.  Kermit had decided he needed to wipe the slate clean.  He systematically went back and forth from the house with all of his flammable possessions.  Mattress, couch, hamper, his dresser, and finally his clothes.  He screamed at the fire with veins bulging on his skinny neck.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had started laughing at the scenario but by this time had become concerned I was witnessing a man make a complete psychotic break.

After his scream, we both stood a distance back from the heat and flames being produced by the mighty fire.  Our shadows danced on the side of the house as the fire popped.  We were both quiet staring into the flames.  “Well, I guess that’s it Kermit.”  We stood there a moment longer.  Kermit raised his head slightly as if an idea had just hit him.  “Nope.  Not yet.”  He pulled off his shirt, stooped down, pulled off his sneakers and then stepped out of his jeans.  He tossed them into the fire.  “That’s it.”  His pale skinny nude body looked especially frail exposed in the fire light.  We both stood there as I tried to figure out what to say.  Kermit sighed.  “Fuck it.”  


At July 14, 2017 at 5:11:00 PM EDT , Blogger Chiller said...

Greg, there better be a page 2 to this story. You are leaving us hanging a bit here.

I just downloaded "Friend in Jesus". The song kicks ass, no doubt about it.


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